Medicalchain is an electronic health record platform powered by a dual blockchain, smart contracts and their own cryptocurrency, "MedTokens". It was founded by Dr. Abdullah Albeyatti and Mo Tayeb in early 2016. Medicalchain completed its ICO on February 1, 2018 raising $24 million. It plans to enable patients to own their healthcare data themselves on the blockchain.
The objective is to provide a secure data storage in which it consolidates patient records from various sources. Medicalchain aims to overcome common challenges observed in the healthcare industry, e.g. inefficiencies due to decentralized information silos of healthcare records, and provides a platform that link various players consequentially simplifying information flow. The ultimate objective is thus to conserve “a single version of truth” of a patient’s medical data.These exchanges are fully based on the approval of the patients who control the data to be shared, the access duration and which medical stakeholder can modify the records. It is thus a decentralized platform as there is no single authority who holds control over all data as solely the owner has the power over it. Consequentially, the role of patients as important stakeholders in their medical care is strengthened. However, the patient cannot modify his or her own patient history or future records.
Work on Medicalchain began with Dr. Abdullah Albeyatti in 2016. Dr. Albeyatti found that there were significant issues involved with the notes that were made when patients were being discharged out of the hospital and back to their general practitioner. These notes, formally known as discharge summaries, contain vital information about why a patient was in the hospital, what was done, and why they were discharged. They are often written in freeform text by doctors and subject to a plethora of errors, such as omission of drug prescription. These errors ultimately low outcomes, raise costs, and are a liability for hospitals.
Dr. Albeyatti addressed this by co-founding Discharge Summary with Bara Mustafa, a digital work flow tool for creating discharge summaries. Their tool generated accurate and timely notes when patients are sent home and was deployed in Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. Discharge summary demonstrated the power of digital health to lower costs and improve outcomes to Dr. Albeyatti. Next, he sought to apply this insight to a broader problem, disparate health systems that disempower patients. Dr. Albeyatti and Mo Tayeb realized that blockchain technology had the potential to solve this problem, founded Medicalchain, and recruited Jay Povey and Robert Miller.
Since then Medicalchain has undergone key developments. Medicalchain went on a roadshow, showcasing its ideas and technology around the world at forums like the Mayo Clinic, Financial Times Digital Health Summit, and Blockchain Labo. They were a top ICO on several rating websites for months and generated a large amount of interest. Medicalchain conducted an Initial Coin Offering and completed this on February 1. Medicalchain is now focused on production and has plans to go worldwide by 2019.
It launched a partnership to pilot the technology with the Groves Medical Group, a large general practice in Kingston upon Thames in March 2018. The organisation has four GP practices, eight full-time partners and 18 salaried doctors as well as specialist nurses. There are over 30,000 registered NHS patients and 1,000 private patient families. Cryptocurrency will be accepted as payment for private health services. There are plans to develop other pilot projects in China, Japan and South Korea.
The Medicalchain platform is a closed and private blockchain. The structure is provided by Hyperledger Fabric and it is used to manage the storage of and access to health records. It provides Medicalchain with the modularity and scalability needed for expansion in the future.The security of the system is ensured as data-in-transit is managed through a two-way Transport Layer Security and subsequently encrypted. Furthermore, the blockchain is organized via several ledgers linking only those users that need access to the same data. This ensure complete isolation between unrelated parties and decreases the risk of data theft. Every individual transaction is booked on the platform’s ledger to uphold transparency.
First, data needs to be produced, e.g. through wearables, scans or records of physical examinations. In order to guarantee security and privacy protection, the data is encrypted and tagged with a personal identifier. Second, it is loaded into the user’s personal blockchain and transmitted to cloud storage. Third, the data can be requested and after the patient’s approval is given, it is decrypted and displayed on the requester’s gadget.
The functionality of the platform requires thorough and secure identity checks to grant each person the appropriate level of access. Medicalchain collaborates with Civic and its Secure Identity Platform to manage the identification process and to avoid identity theft. A researcher would only have reading rights, while a practitioner would have both reading and editing rights given that he or she had obtained patient approval. A patient does not have editing rights to avoid the risk of record tempering, but he or she may still update personal data as sports behavior and could also incorporate IoT data into these records.
Exchanges on the platform are arranged through a newly created cryptocurrency, MedTokens, Ethereum-run ERC20 tokens operating as smart contracts that organize the transfers and application development. The platform records and verifies all token transactions. The smart contract function allows users to program processes, e.g. billing, on to the platform resulting in a fully automated network. They can be employed to purchase storage space on the platform, to reward doctors for telemedicine services and to in turn receive tokens for sharing data with third party providers.
Medicalchain will further be enhanced by two applications: a teledoctor platform and a health data marketplace.
The telemedicine platform allows patients to contact doctors regardless of their location to receive counsel on their medical condition in return for a charge. This increases the level of convenience in scheduling appointments and opens up a wider range of choice in the selection of doctors. In comparison with existing telemedicine platforms, Medicalchain would enhance the functionality as it would allow for access to the patient’s medical records, which would improve the quality of diagnoses.
The marketplace serves as a surface on which users can give their health data to third parties, e.g. research institutions or pharmacies, who can use the data for their own purposes in line with the user’s requirements. Along this marketplace, there are various Available Programming Interfaces, which encourage developers to create decentralized healthcare applications . At first, Medicalchain will link wearables and the Apple HealthKit to the platform later following with other IoT-related functions.
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